A KING AND NO KING

by Francis Beaumont

and John Fletcher

c. 1611

 

 

 

 

 

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

The Iberians:

Arbaces, King of Iberia.

Arane, the Queen-Mother.

     Panthea, her daughter.

Gobrias, Lord-Protector.

Bacurius, a Lord.

Mardonius, a Captain.

Bessus, a Captain.

Two Sword-Men.

Three Shop-Men.

Citizens’ Wives, &c.

     Philip, a servant.

The Armenians:

Tigranes, King of Armenia.

Lygones, a Lord

     Spaconia, daughter of Lygones.

Gentlemen, Attendants, &c.

SCENE:

During the First Act the Frontiers of Armenia;

Afterwards the Metropolis of Iberia.

ACT I.

SCENE I.

The Camp of Arbaces, on the Frontiers of Armenia.

Enter Mardonius and Bessus.

Mar.  Bessus, the king has made a fair hand on't; he

has ended the wars at a blow. Would my sword had

a close basket hilt, to hold wine, and the blade would

make knives! for we shall have nothing but eating

and drinking.

Bes.  We that are commanders shall do well enough.

Mar.  Faith, Bessus, such commanders as thou may:

I had as lieve set thee perdu for a pudding i' the dark

as Alexander the Great.

Bes.  I love these jests exceedingly.

Mar.  I think thou lovest 'em better than quarrelling,

Bessus; I'll say so much in thy behalf. And yet thou art

valiant enough upon a retreat: I think thou wouldst kill

any man that stopt thee, an thou couldst.

Bes.  But was not this a brave combat, Mardonius?

Mar.  Why, didst thou see ‘t?

Bes.  You stood with me.

Mar.  I did so; but methought thou winkedst every blow

they strake.

Bes.  Well, I believe there are better soldiers than I, that

never saw two princes fight in lists.

Mar.  By my troth, I think so too, Bessus, − many a

thousand: but, certainly, all that are worse than thou

have seen as much.

Bes.  'Twas bravely done of our king.

Mar.  Yes, if he had not ended the wars. I'm glad thou

darest talk of such dangerous businesses.

Bes.  To take a prince prisoner in the heart of his own

country, in single combat!

Mar.  See how thy blood cruddles at this! I think thou

couldst be contented to be beaten i' this passion.

 

Bes.  Shall I tell you truly?

Mar.  Ay.

Bes.  I could willingly venture for ‘t.

Mar.  Hum; no venture neither, good Bessus.

Bes.  Let me not live, if I do not think it is a braver 

piece of service than that I'm so famed for.

Mar.  Why, art thou famed for any valour?

Bes.  Famed! Ay, I warrant you.

Mar.  I’m e’en very heartily glad on't: I have been 

with thee ever since thou camest to the wars, and this

is the first word that ever I heard on't. Prithee, who

fames thee?

Bes.  The Christian world.

Mar.  'Tis heathenishly done of 'em; in my conscience,

thou deservest it not.

Bes.  Yes, I ha' done good service.

Mar.  I do not know how thou may'st wait of a man in's

chamber, or thy agility in shifting a trencher; but

otherwise no service, good Bessus.

Bes.  You saw me do the service yourself.

Mar.  Not so hasty, sweet Bessus: where was it? is the

place vanished?

Bes.  At Bessus' Desperate Redemption.

Mar.  At Bessus' Desperate Redemption! where's that?

Bes.  There, where I redeemed the day; the place 

bears my name.

Mar.  Prithee, who christened it?

Bes.  The soldier.

Mar.  If I were not a very merrily disposed man, what

would become of thee? One that had but a grain of

choler in the whole composition of his body would 

send thee of an errand to the worms for putting thy

name upon that field: did not I beat thee there, i' th'

head o' the troops, with a truncheon, because thou

wouldst needs run away with thy company, when we

should charge the enemy?

Bes.  True; but I did not run.

Mar.  Right, Bessus: I beat thee out on't.

Bes.  But came not I up when the day was gone, and

redeemed all?

Mar.  Thou knowest, and so do I, thou meanedst to fly,

and thy fear making thee mistake, thou rannest upon the

enemy; and a hot charge thou gavest; as, I'll do thee

right, thou art furious in running away; and I think we

owe thy fear for our victory. If I were the king, and

were sure thou wouldst mistake always, and run away

upon the enemy, thou shouldst be general, by this light.

Bes.  You'll never leave this till I fall foul.

Mar.  No more such words, dear Bessus; for though I

have ever known thee a coward, and therefore durst

never strike thee, yet if thou proceedest, I will

allow thee valiant, and beat thee.

Bes.  Come, come, our king's a brave fellow.

Mar.  He is so, Bessus; I wonder how thou camest to

know it. But, if thou wert a man of understanding, I

would tell thee, he is vain-glorious and humble, and

angry and patient, and merry and dull, and joyful and

sorrowful, in extremities, in an hour. Do not think me

thy friend for this; for if I cared who knew it, thou

shouldst not hear it, Bessus. Here he is, with the

prey in his foot.

Enter Arbaces, Tigranes,

two Gentlemen, and Attendants.

Arb.  Thy sadness, brave Tigranes, takes away

From my full victory: am I become

Of so small fame, that any man should grieve

When I o'ercome him? They that placed me here

Intended it an honour, large enough

For the most valiant living, but to dare

Oppose me single, though he lost the day.

What should afflict you? You are free as I;

To be my prisoner, is to be more free

Than you were formerly: and never think,

The man I held worthy to combat me

Shall be used servilely. Thy ransom is,

To take my only sister to thy wife;

A heavy one, Tigranes; for she is

A lady, that the neighbor-princes send

Blanks to fetch home. I have been too unkind

To her, Tigranes: she’s but nine years old,

I left her, and ne'er saw her since; your wars

Have held me long, and taught me, though a youth,

The way to victory. She was a pretty child;

Then, I was little better; but now fame

Cries loudly on her, and my messengers

Make me believe she is a miracle.

She'll make you shrink, as I did, with a stroke

But of her eye, Tigranes.

Tigr.                              Is't the course of

Iberia to use their prisoners thus?

Had fortune thrown my name above Arbaces',

I should not thus have talked; for in Armenia

We hold it base. You should have kept your temper

Till you saw home again, where 'tis the fashion,

Perhaps, to brag.

Arb.                 Be you my witness, earth,

Need I to brag? Doth not this captive prince

Speak me sufficiently, and all the acts

That I have wrought upon his suffering land?

Should I, then, boast? Where lies that foot of ground

Within his whole realm, that I have not passed

Fighting and conquering? Far, then, from me

Be ostentation. I could tell the world

How I have laid his kingdom desolate,

By this sole arm, propt by divinity;

Stript him out of his glories; and have sent

The pride of all his youth to people graves;

And made his virgins languish for their loves;

If I would brag. Should I, that have the power

To teach the neighbor-world humility,

Mix with vain-glory?

Mar. [Aside]             Indeed, this is none!

Arb.  Tigranes, no: did I but take delight

To stretch my deeds as others do, on words,

I could amaze my hearers.

Mar. [Aside]                   So you do.

Arb.  But he shall wrong his and my modesty,

That thinks me apt to boast: after an act

Fit for a god to do upon his foe,

A little glory in a soldier's mouth

Is well-becoming; be it far from vain.

Mar.  [Aside]

'Tis pity, that valour should be thus drunk.

Arb.  I offer you my sister: and you answer,

I do insult: a lady that no suit,

Nor treasure, nor thy crown, could purchase thee,

But that thou fought'st with me.

Tigr.                                        Though this be worse

Than that you spoke before, it strikes me not;

But that you think to overgrace me with

The marriage of your sister troubles me.

I would give worlds for ransoms, were they mine,

Rather than have her.

Arb.                         See, if I insult,

That am the conqueror, and for a ransom

Offer rich treasure to the conquerèd,

Which he refuses, and I bear his scorn!

It cannot be self-flattery to say,

The daughters of your country, set by her,

Would see their shame, run home, and blush to death

At their own foulness. Yet she is not fair,

Nor beautiful, those words express her not:

They say, her looks have something excellent,

That wants a name. Yet were she odious,

Her birth deserves the empire of the world:

Sister to such a brother, that hath ta'en

Victory prisoner, and throughout the earth

Carries her bound, and should he let her loose,

She durst not leave him. Nature did her wrong,

To print continual conquest on her cheeks,

And make no man worthy for her to take,

But me, that am too near her; and as strangely

She did for me; but you will think I brag.

Mar. [Aside]  I do, I'll be sworn. Thy valour and thy

passions severed would have made two excellent

fellows in their kinds. I know not whether I should be

sorry thou art so valiant, or so passionate: would one

of 'em were away!

Tigr.  Do I refuse her, that I doubt her worth?

Were she as virtuous as she would be thought;

So perfect, that no one of her own sex

Could find a want; had she so tempting fair,

That she could wish it off, for damning souls;

I would pay any ransom, twenty lives,

Rather than meet her married in my bed.

Perhaps I have a love, where I have fixed

Mine eyes, not to be moved, and she on me;

I am not fickle.

Arb.                Is that all the cause?

Think you, you can so knit yourself in love

To any other, that her searching sight

Cannot dissolve it? So, before you tried,

You thought yourself a match for me in fight.

Trust me, Tigranes, she can do as much

In peace as I in war; she'll conquer too:

You shall see, if you have the power to stand

The force of her swift looks. If you dislike,

I'll send you home with love, and name your ransom

Some other way; but if she be your choice,

She frees you. To Iberia you must.

Tigr.  Sir, I have learned a prisoner's sufferance,

And will obey. But give me leave to talk

In private with some friends before I go.

Arb.  Some two await him forth, and see him safe;

But let him freely send for whom he please,

And none dare to disturb his conference;

I will not have him know what bondage is,

Till he be free from me.

[Exit Tigranes with Attendants.]

                                   This prince, Mardonius,

Is full of wisdom, valour, all the graces

Man can receive.

Mar.                And yet you conquered him.

Arb.  And yet I conquered him, and could have done’t

Had’st thou joined with him, though thy name in arms

Be great. Must all men that are virtuous

Think suddenly to match themselves with me?

I conquered him, and bravely; did I not?

Bes.  An please your majesty, I was afraid at first −

Mar.  When wert thou other?

Arb.                                   Of what?

Bes.  That you would not have spied your best

advantages; for your majesty, in my opinion, lay too

high; methinks, under favour, you should have lain thus.

Mar.  Like a tailor at a wake.

Bes.  And then, if't please your majesty to remember, at

one time − by my troth, I wished myself wi' you.

Mar.  By my troth, thou wouldst ha' stunk 'em both

out o' th' lists.

Arb.  What to do?

Bes.  To put your majesty in mind of an occasion: you 

lay thus, and Tigranes falsified a blow at your leg, 

which you, by doing thus, avoided; but, if you had

whipped up your leg thus, and reached him on the ear,

you had made the blood-royal run about his head.

Mar.  What country fence-school didst thou learn that at?

Arb.  Puff! did not I take him nobly?

Mar.                                         Why, you did

And you have talked enough on't.

Arb.                                        Talked enough!

Will you confine my words? By Heaven and earth,

I were much better be a king of beasts

Than such a people! If I had not patience

Above a god, I should be called a tyrant

Throughout the world: they will offend to death

Each minute. Let me hear thee speak again,

And thou art earth again. Why, this is like

Tigranes' speech, that needs would say I bragged.

Bessus, he said I bragged.

Bes.  Ha, ha, ha!

Arb.                           Why dost thou laugh?

By all the world, I'm grown ridiculous

To my own subjects. Tie me to a chair,

And jest at me! But I shall make a start,

And punish some, that others may take heed

How they are haughty. Who will answer me?

He said I boasted: speak, Mardonius,

Did I? − He will not answer. Oh, my temper!

I give you thanks above, that taught my heart

Patience; I can endure his silence. What, will none

Vouchsafe to give me answer? Am I grown

To such a poor respect? or do you mean

To break my wind? Speak, speak, some one of you

Or else, by Heaven −

1st Gent.          So please your −

Arb.                                          Monstrous!

I cannot be heard out; they cut me off,

As if I were too saucy. I will live

In woods, and talk to trees; they will allow me

To end what I begin. The meanest subject

Can find a freedom to discharge his soul,

And not I. Now it is a time to speak;

I hearken.

1st Gent.  May it please −

Arb.                               I mean not you;

Did not I stop you once? But I am grown

To talk but idly: let another speak.

2nd Gent.  I hope your majesty −

Arb.                                   Thou drawl'st thy words,

That I must wait an hour, where other men

Can hear in instants: throw your words away

Quick and to purpose; I have told you this.

Bes.  An't please your majesty −

Arb. Wilt thou devour me? This is such a rudeness

As yet you never showed me: and I want

Power to command too; else, Mardonius

Would speak at my request. − Were you my king,

I would have answered at your word, Mardonius:

I pray you, speak, and truly; did I boast?

Mar.  Truth will offend you.

Arb.                                  You take all great care

What will offend me, when you dare to utter

Such things as these.

Mar.  You told Tigranes, you had won his land

With that sole arm, propped by divinity:

Was not that bragging, and a wrong to us,

That daily ventured lives?

Arb.                               O, that thy name

Were great as mine! 'would I had paid my wealth

It were as great, as I might combat thee!

I would, through all the regions habitable,

Search thee, and, having found thee, with my sword

Drive thee about the world, till I had met

Some place that yet man's curiosity

Had missed of; there, there would I strike thee dead:

Forgotten of mankind, such funeral rites

As beasts would give thee, thou shouldst have.

Bes.                                                              The king

Rages extremely: shall we slink away?

He'll strike us.

2nd Gent.  Content.

Arb.  There I would make you know, 'twas this sole arm.

I grant, you were my instruments, and did

As I commanded you; but 'twas this arm

Moved you like wheels; it moved you as it pleased. −

Whither slip you now? What, are you too good

To wait on me? Puff! I had need have temper,

That rule such people; I have nothing left

At my own choice: I would I might be private!

Mean men enjoy themselves; but 'tis our curse

To have a tumult, that, out of their loves,

Will wait on us, whether we will or no.

Go, get you gone! Why, here they stand like death;

My words move nothing.

1st Gent.                       Must we go?

Bes.                                                 I know not.

Arb.  I pray you, leave me, sirs. I'm proud of this,

That you will be entreated from my sight.

[Exeunt two Gentlemen, Bessus, and Attendants.

Mardonius is going out.]

Why, now they leave me all! − Mardonius!

Mar.  Sir?

Arb.      Will you leave me quite alone? methinks,

Civility should teach you more than this,

If I were but your friend. Stay here, and wait.

Mar.  Sir, shall I speak?

Arb.                         Why, you would now think much

To be denied; but I can scarce entreat

What I would have. Do, speak.

Mar.                                But will you hear me out?

Arb.  With me you article, to talk thus. Well,

I will hear you out.

Mar.  [Kneels.] Sir, that I have ever loved you,

My sword hath spoken for me; that I do,

If it be doubted, I dare call an oath,

A great one, to my witness; and were 

You not my king, from amongst men I should

Have chose you out, to love above the rest:

Nor can this challenge thanks; for my own sake

I should have done it, because I would have loved

The most deserving man, for so you are.

Arb. [Raising him.]

Alas, Mardonius, rise! you shall not kneel:

We all are soldiers, and all venture lives;

And where there is no difference in men's worths,

Titles are jests. Who can outvalue thee?

Mardonius, thou hast loved me, and hast wrong;

Thy love is not rewarded; but believe

It shall be better: more than friend in arms,

My father and my tutor, good Mardonius!

Mar.  Sir, you did promise you would hear me out.

Arb.  And so I will: speak freely, for from thee

Nothing can come, but worthy things and true.

Mar.  Though you have all this worth, you hold some qualities

That do eclipse your virtues.

Arb.                                  Eclipse my virtues!

Mar.                                                           Yes,

Your passiöns, which are so manifold, that they

Appear even in this: when I commend you,

You hug me for that truth; when I speak of your faults,

You make a start, and fly the hearing. But −

Arb.  When you commend me! Oh, that I should live

To need such commendations! If my deeds

Blew not my praise themselves about the earth,

I were most wretched! Spare your idle praise:

If thou didst mean to flatter, and shouldst utter

Words in my praise, that thou thought'st impudence,

My deeds should make 'em modest. When you praise,

I hug you! 'tis so false, that, wert thou worthy,

Thou shouldst receive a death, a glorious death,

From me. But thou shalt understand thy lies;

For shouldst thou praise me into Heaven, and there

Leave me enthroned, I would despise thee though

As much as now, which is as much as dust,

Because I see thy envy.

Mar.  However you will use me after, yet,

For your own promise sake, hear me the rest.

Arb.  I will, and after call unto the winds,

For they shall lend as large an ear as I

To what you utter. Speak.

Mar.                          Would you but leave

These nasty tempers, which I do not say

Take from you all your worth, but darken 'em,

Then you would shine indeed.

Arb.                                    Well.

Mar.                                         Yet I would have

You keep some passiöns, lest men should take you

For a god, your virtues are such.

Arb.                                   Why, now you flatter.

Mar.  I never understood the word. Were you

No king, and free from these wild moods, should I

Choose a companiön for wit and pleasure,

It should be you; or for honesty to interchange

My bosom with, it should be you; or wisdom

To give me counsel, I would pick out you; 

Or valour to defend my reputation,

Still I would find out you, for you are fit

To fight for all the world, if it could come

In questiön. Now I have spoke: consider

To yourself, find out a use; if so, then what

Shall fall to me is not material.

Arb.  Is not material? more than ten such lives

As mine, Mardonius. It was nobly said;

Thou hast spoke truth, and boldly such a truth

As might offend another. I have been

Too passionate and idle; thou shalt see

A swift amendment. But I want those parts

You praise me for: I fight for all the world!

Give thee a sword, and thou wilt go as far

Beyond me as thou art beyond in years;

I know thou dar'st and wilt. It troubles me

That I should use so rough a phrase to thee:

Impute it to my folly, what thou wilt,

So thou wilt pardon me. That thou and I

Should differ thus!

Mar.                   Why, 'tis no matter, sir.

Arb.  'Faith, but it is: but thou dost ever take

All things I do thus patiently; for which

I never can requite thee but with love,

And that thou shalt be sure of. Thou and I

Have not been merry lately: pray thee, tell me,

Where hadst thou that same jewèl in thine ear?

Mar.  Why, at the taking of a town.

Arb.                                              A wench,

Upon my life, a wench, Mardonius,

Gave thee that jewel.

Mar.                   Wench! They respect not me;

I'm old and rough, and every limb about me,

But that which should, grows stiffer. I' those businesses,

I may swear I am truly honest; for I pay

Justly for what I take, and would be glad

To be at a certainty.

Arb.  Why, do the wenches encroach upon thee?

Mar.  Ay, by this light, do they.

Arb.  Didst thou sit at an old rent with 'em?

Mar.  Yes, faith.

Arb.  And do they improve themselves?

Mar.  Ay, ten shillings to me, every new young fellow

they come acquainted with.

Arb.  How canst live on't?

Mar.  Why, I think, I must petition to you.

Arb.  Thou shalt take 'em up at my price.

Enter two Gentlemen and Bessus.

Mar.  Your price!

Arb.  Ay, at the king's price.

Mar.  That may be more than I'm worth.

1st Gent.  Is he not merry now?

2nd Gent.  I think not.

Bes.  He is, he is: We'll show ourselves.

Arb.  Bessus! I thought you had been in Iberia by this; I

bade you haste; Gobrias will want entertainment for me.

Bes.  An't please your majesty, I have a suit.

Arb.  Is't not lousy, Bessus? what is't?

Bes.  I am to carry a lady with me −

Arb.  Then thou hast two suits.

Bes.  And if I can prefer her to the lady Panthea, your

majesty's sister, to learn fashions, as her friends term it,

it will be worth something to me.

Arb.  So many nights' lodgings as 'tis thither; will't not?

Bes.  I know not that, sir; but gold I shall be sure of.

Arb.  Why, thou shalt bid her entertain her from me, 

so thou wilt resolve me one thing.

Bes.  If I can.

Arb.  'Faith, ‘tis a very disputable question; and yet I

think thou canst decide it.

Bes.  Your majesty has a good opinion of my

understanding.

Arb.  I have so good an opinion of it: 'tis whether thou 

be valiant.

Bes.  Somebody has traduced me to you: do you see 

this sword, sir?

[Draws.]

Arb.  Yes.

Bes.  If I do not make my back-biters eat it to a knife

within this week, say I am not valiant.

Enter a Messenger.

Mess.  Health to your majesty!

[Delivers a letter.]

Arb.  From Gobrias?

Mess.                   Yes, Sir.

Arb.                              How does he? is he well?

Mess.  In perfect health.

Arb.                          Take that for thy good news. −

[Gives money.]

A trustier servant to his prince there lives not

Than is good Gobrias.

[Reads.]

1st Gent.  The king starts back.

Mar.                                 His blood goes back as fast.

2nd Gent.  And now it comes again.

Mar.                                             He alters strangely.

Arb.  The hand of Heaven is on me: be it far

From me to struggle! If my secret sins

Have pulled this curse upon me, lend me tears

Enow to wash me white, that I may feel

A child-like innocence within my breast:

Which once performed, oh, gives me leave to stand

As fixed as Constancy herself: my eyes

Set here unmoved, regardless of the world,

Though thousand miseries encompass me!

Mar.  This is strange! − Sir, how do you?

Arb.  Mardonius, my mother −

Mar.                                   Is she dead?

Arb.  Alas, she's not so happy! Thou dost know

How she hath laboured, since my father died,

To take by treason hence this loathèd life,

That would but be to serve her. I have pardoned,

And pardoned, and by that have made her fit

To practise new sins, not repent the old.

She now had hired a slave to come from thence,

And strike me here; whom Gobrias, sifting out,

Took, and condemned, and executed there,

The carefull'st servant! Heaven, let me but live

To pay that man! Nature is poor to me,

That will not let me have as many deaths

As are the times that he hath saved my life,

That I might die 'em over all for him.

Mar.  Sir, let her bear her sins on her own head;

Vex not yourself.

Arb.               What will the world

Conceive of me? with what unnatural sins

Will they suppose me laden, when my life

Is sought by her that gave it to the world?

But yet he writes me comfort here: my sister,

He says, is grown in beauty and in grace,

In all the innocent virtues that become

A tender spotless maid: she stains her cheeks

With mourning tears, to purge her mother's ill;

And 'mongst that sacred dew she mingles prayers,

Her pure oblations, for my safe return. −

If I have lost the duty of a son,

If any pomp or vanity of state

Made me forget my natural offices,

Nay, further, if I have not every night

Expostulated with my wand'ring thoughts,

If aught unto my parent they have erred,

And called 'em back; do you direct her arm

Unto this foul dissembling heart of mine:

But if I have been just to her, send out

Your power to compass me, and hold me safe

From searching treason! I will use no means

But prayer: for, rather suffer me to see

From mine own veins issue a deadly flood,

Than wash my danger off with mother's blood.

Mar.  I ne'er saw such sudden extremities.

[Exeunt.]

ACT I, SCENE II.

Another part of the Camp.

Enter Tigranes And Spaconia.

Tigr.  Why, wilt thou have me fly, Spaconia?

What should I do?

Spa.                    Nay, let me stay alone;

And when you see Armenia again,

You shall behold a tomb more worth than I:

Some friend, that ever loves me or my cause,

Will build me something to distinguish me

From other women; many a weeping verse

He will lay on, and much lament those maids

That place their loves unfortunately high,

As I have done, where they can never reach.

But why should you go to Iberia?

Tigr.  Alas, that thou wilt ask me! Ask the man

That rages in a fever, why he lies

Distempered there, when all the other youths

Are coursing o'er the meadows with their loves:

Can I resist it? am I not a slave

To him that conquered me?

Spa.                                That conquered thee,

Tigranes, he has won but half of thee −

Thy body; but thy mind may be as free

As his; his will did never combat thine,

And take it prisoner.

Tigr.                        But if he by force

Convey my body hence, what helps it me,

Or thee, to be unwilling?

Spa.                              O, Tigranes!

I know you are to see a lady there;

To see, and like, I fear: perhaps the hope

Of her makes you forget me ere we part.

Be happier than you know to wish! farewell.

Tigr.  Spaconia, stay, and hear me what I say.

In short, destruction meet me, that I may

See it, and not avoid it, when I leave

To be thy faithful lover! Part with me

Thou shalt not; there are none that know our love;

And I have given gold unto a captain,

That goes unto Iberia from the king,

That he would place a lady of our land

With the king's sister that is offered me;

Thither shall you, and, being once got in,

Persuade her, by what subtle means you can,

To be as backward in her love as I.

Spa.  Can you imagine that a longing maid,

When she beholds you, can be pulled away

With words from loving you?

Tigr.                                    Dispraise my health,

My honesty, and tell her I am jealous.

Spa.  Why, I had rather loose you. Can my heart

Consent to let my tongue throw out such words?

And I, that ever yet spoke what I thought,

Shall find it such a thing at first to lie!

Tigr.  Yet, do thy best.

Enter Bessus.

Bes.  What, is your majesty ready?

Tigr.  There is the lady, captain.

Bes.  Sweet lady, by your leave. I could wish myself

more full of courtship for your fair sake.

Spa.  Sir, I shall feel no want of that.

Bes.  Lady, you must haste; I have received new letters

from the king, that require more speed than I expected:

he will follow me suddenly himself; and begins to call

for your majesty already.

Tigr.  He shall not do so long.

Bes.  Sweet lady, shall I call you my charge hereafter?

Spa.  I will not take upon me to govern your tongue, sir:

you shall call me what you please.

[Exeunt.]

ACT II.

SCENE I.

The Capital of Iberia.

An Apartment in the Palace.

Enter Gobrias, Bacurius, Arane, Panthea,

 Waiting-women and Attendants.

Gob.  My Lord Bacurius, you must have regard

Unto the queen; she is your prisoner;

'Tis at your peril, if she make escape.

Bac.  My Lord, I know't; she is my prisoner,

From you committed: yet she is a woman;

And, so I keep her safe, you will not urge me

To keep her close. I shall not shame to say,

I sorrow for her.

Gob.                So do I, my lord:

I sorrow for her, that so little grace

Doth govern her, that she should stretch her arm

Against her king; so little womanhood

And natural goodness, as to think the death

Of her own son.

Arane.                 Thou know'st the reason why,

Dissembling as thou art, and wilt not speak.

Gob.  There is a lady takes not after you;

Her father is within her; that good man,

Whose tears paid down his sins. Mark how she weeps;

How well it does become her! And if you

Can find no disposition in yourself

To sorrow, yet by gracefulness in her

Find out the way, and by your reason weep:

All this she does for you, and more she needs,

When for yourself you will not lose a tear.

Think how this want of grief discredits you;

And you will weep, because you cannot weep.

Arane.  You talk to me, as having got a time

Fit for your purpose; but you know, I know

You speak not what you think.

Pan.                                        I would my heart

Were stone, before my softness should be urged

Against my mother! A more troubled thought

No virgin bears about her: should I excuse

My mother's fault, I should set light a life,

In losing which a brother and a king

Were taken from me: if I seek to save

That life so loved, I lose another life,

That gave me being, − I shall lose a mother,

A word of such a sound in a child's ear,

That it strikes reverence through it. May the will

Of Heaven be done, and if one needs must fall,

Take a poor virgin's life to answer all!

Arane.  But, Gobrias, let us talk. You know, this fault

Is not in me as in another woman.

[They walk apart.]

Gob.  I know it is not.

Arane.                         Yet you make it so.

Gob.  Why, is not all that's past beyond your help?

Arane.  I know it is.

Gob.                     Nay, should you publish it

Before the world, think you 'twould be believed?

Arane.  I know, it would not.

Gob.                                Nay, should I join with you,

Should we not both be torn, and yet both die

Uncredited?

Arane.         I think we should.

Gob.                                     Why, then,

Take you such violent courses? As for me,

I do but right in saving of the king

From all your plots.

Arane.                       The king!

Gob.                                       I bade you rest

With patience, and a time would come for me

To reconcile all to your own content;

But by this way you take away my power;

And what was done, unknown, was not by me,

But you; your urging being done,

I must preserve mine own; but time may bring

All this to light, and happily for all.

Arane.  Accursèd be this over-curious brain,

That gave that plot a birth! Accursed this womb,

That after did conceive to my disgrace!

Bac.  My Lord-protector, they say, there are divers

letters come from Armenia, that Bessus has done

good service, and brought again a day by his particular

valour: received you any to that effect?

Gob.  Yes; 'tis most certain.

Bac.  I'm sorry for't; not that the day was won, but that

'twas won by him. We held him here a coward: he did

me wrong once, at which I laughed, and so did all the

world; for nor I, nor any other, held him worth my

sword.

Enter Bessus and Spaconia.

Bes.  Health to my Lord-protector! From the king these

letters, − and to your grace, madam, these.

[Gives letters to Gorbias and Panthea.]

Gob.  How does his majesty?

Bes.  As well as conquest, by his own means and his

valiant commanders, can make him: your letters will

tell you all.

Pan.  I will not open mine, till I do know

My brother's health: good captain, is he well?

Bes.  As the rest of us that fought are.

Pan.  But how's that? is he hurt?

Bes.  He's a strange soldier that gets not a knock.

Pan.  I do not ask how strange that soldier is

That gets no hurt, but whether he have one.

Bes.  He had divers.

Pan.  And is he well again?

Bes.  Well again, an't please your grace! Why, I was 

run twice through the body, and shot i' the head with

a cross arrow, and yet am well again.

Pan.  I do not care how thou dost: is he well?

Bes.  Not care how I do? Let a man, out of the 

mightiness of his spirit, fructify foreign countries with

his blood, for the good of his own, and thus he shall be

answered. Why, I may live to relieve, with spear and

shield, such a lady [as you] distressed.

Pan.  Why, I will care: I'm glad that thou art well;

I prithee, is he so?

Gob.  The king is well, and will be here to-morrow.

Pan.  My prayer is heard. Now will I open mine.

[Reads.]

Gob.  Bacurius, I must ease you of your charge.−

Madam, the wonted mercy of the king,

That overtakes your faults, has met with this,

And struck it out; he has forgiven you freely:

Your own will is your law; be where you please.

Arane.  I thank him.

Gob.                     You will be ready to wait

Upon his majesty to-morrow?

Arane.                                 I will.

Bac.  Madam, be wise, hereafter. I am glad

I have lost this office.

[Exit Arane.]

Gob.  Good captain Bessus, tell us the discourse

Betwixt Tigranes and our king, and how

We got the victory.

Pan.                     I prithee do;

And if my brother were in any danger,

Let not thy tale make him abide there long

Before thou bring him off, for all that while

My heart will beat.

Bes.  Madam, let what will beat, I must tell truth, and

thus it was: they fought single in lists, but one to one.

As for my own part, I was dangerously hurt but three

days before; else perhaps we had been two to two, −

I cannot tell, some thought we had; and the occasion

of my hurt was this: the enemy had made trenches −

Gob.  Captain, without the manner of your hurt

Be much material to this business,

We'll hear't some other time.

Pan.                                     I prithee, leave it,

And go on with my brother.

Bes.  I will; but 'twould be worth your hearing. To the

lists they came, and single sword and gauntlet was their

fight.

Pan.  Alas!

Bes.  Without the lists there stood some dozen captains

of either side mingled, all which were sworn, and one of

those was I; and 'twas my chance to stand next a captain

of the enemies' side, called Tiribasus; valiant, they said,

he was. Whilst these two kings were stretching

themselves, this Tiribasus cast something a scornful 

look on me, and asked me, who I thought would

overcome. I smiled, and told him, if he would fight with

me, he should perceive by the event of that, whose king

would win. Something he answered; and a scuffle was

like to grow, when one Zipetus offered to help him: I −

Pan.  All this of is thyself: I prithee, Bessus,

Tell something of my brother; did he nothing?

Bes.  Why, yes; I'll tell your grace. They were not to

fight till the word given; which for my own part, by my

troth, [I confess,] I was not to give.

Pan.  See, for his own part!

Bac.  I fear, yet, this fellow's abused with a good

report.

Bes.  Ay, but I −

Pan.  Still of himself!

Bes.  Cried, "Give the word!" when, as some of them

say, Tigranes was stooping; but the word was not given

then; yet one Cosroes, of the enemies' part, held up his

finger to me, which is as much with us martialists, as,

"I will fight with you:" I said not a word, nor made sign

during the combat; but that once done −

Pan.  He slips o’er all the fight!

Bes.  I called him to me; “Cosroes," said I −

Pan.  I will hear no more.

Bes.  No, no, I lie.

Bac.   I dare be sworn thou dost.

Bes.  "Captain," said I; so 'twas.

Pan.  I tell thee, I will hear no further.

Bes.  No? Your grace will wish you had.

Pan.  I will not wish it. What, is this the lady

My brother writes to me to take?

Bes.  An't please your grace this is she. − Charge, will

you come nearer the princess?

Pan.  You are welcome from your country; and this land

Shall show unto you all the kindnesses

That I can make it. What's your name?

Spa.                                                    Thalestris.

Pan. You're very welcome: you have got a letter

To put you to me, that has power enough

To place mine enemy here; then much more you,

That are so far from being so to me,

That you ne'er saw me.

Bes.  Madam, I dare pass my word for her truth.

Spa.  My truth?

Pan.  Why, captain, do you think I am afraid she'll steal?

Bes.  I cannot tell; servants are slippery; but I dare give

my word for her, and for her honesty: she came along

with me, and many fayours she did me by the way; but,

by this light, none but what she might do with modesty,

to a man of my rank.

Pan.  Why, captain, here's nobody thinks otherwise.

Bes.  Nay, if you should, your grace may think your

pleasure; but I am sure I brought her from Armenia, and

in all that way, if ever I touched any bare of her above

her knee, I pray God I may sink where I stand.

Spa.  Above my knee?

Bes.  No, you know I did not; and if any man will say I

did, this sword shall answer. Nay, I'll defend the

reputation of my charge whilst I live. Your grace shall

understand I am secret in these businesses, and know

how to defend a lady's honour.

Spa.  I hope your grace knows him so well already,

I shall not need to tell you he's vain and foolish.

Bes.  Ay, you may call me what you please, but I'll

defend your good name against the world. − And so I

take my leave of your grace, − and of you, my Lord-

protector. − I am likewise glad to see your lordship well.

Bac.  Oh, captain Bessus, I thank you. I would speak 

with you anon.

Bes.  When you please, I will attend your lordship.

[Exit.]

Bac.  Madam I'll take my leave too.

Pan.                                               Good Bacurius!

[Exit Bacurius.]

Gob.  Madam, what writes his majesty to you?

Pan.  Oh, my lord,

The kindest words! I'll keep 'em while I live,

Here in my bosom; there's no art in 'em;

They lie disordered in this paper, just

As hearty nature speaks 'em.

Gob.                                    And to me

He writes, what tears of joy he shed, to hear

How you were grown in every virtuous way;

And yields all thanks to me, for that dear care

Which I was bound to have in training you.

There is no princess living that enjoys

A brother of that worth.

Pan.                            My lord, no maid

Longs more for anything, or feels more heat

And cold within her breast, than I do now

In hope to see him.

Gob.                    Yet I wonder much

At this: he writes, he brings along with him

A husband for you, that same captive prince;

And if he love you, as he makes a show,

He will allow you freedom in your choice.

Pan.  And so he will, my lord, I warrant you;

He will but offer, and give me the power

To take or leave.

Gob.                Trust me, were I a lady,

I could not like that man were bargained with

Before I choose him.

Pan.                      But I am not built

On such wild humours; if I find him worthy,

He is not less because he's offerèd.

Spa. [Aside]

'Tis true he is not: would he would seem less!

Gob.  I think there is no lady can affect

Another prince, your brother standing by:

He doth eclipse men's virtues so with his.

Spa.  [Aside] I know a lady may, and more, I fear,

Another lady will.

Pan.                  Would I might see him!

Gob.  Why so you shall. My businesses are great:

I will attend you when it is his pleasure

To see you, madam.

Pan.                    I thank you, good my lord.

Gob.  You will be ready, madam?

Pan.                                           Yes.

[Exit Gobrias with Attendants.]

Spa.  I do beseech you, madam, send away

Your other women, and receive from me

A few sad words, which, set against your joys,

May make 'em shine the more.

Pan.                                       Sirs, leave me all.

[Exeunt Waiting-women.]

Spa.  [Kneels] I kneel, a stranger here, to beg a thing

Unfit for me to ask, and you to grant:

'Tis such another strange ill-laid request,

As if a beggar should entreat a king

To leave his sceptre and his throne to him,

And take his rags to wander o'er the world,

Hungry and cold.

Pan.                 That were a strange request.

Spa.  As ill is mine.

Pan.                    Then do not utter it.

Spa.  Alas, 'tis of that nature, that it must

Be uttered, ay, and granted, or I die!

I am ashamed to speak it; but where life

Lies at the stake, I cannot think her woman,

That will not talk something unreasonably

To hazard saving of it. I shall seem

A strange petitioner, that wish all ill

To them I beg of, ere they give me aught;

Yet so I must. I would you were not fair

Nor wise, for in your ill consists my good:

If you were foolish, you would hear my prayer;

If foul, you had not power to hinder me, −

He would not love you.

Pan.                          What's the meaning of it?

Spa.  Nay, my request is more without the bounds

Of reason yet: for 'tis not in the power

Of you to do what I would have you grant.

Pan.  Why, then, 'tis idle. Prithee, speak it out.

Spa.  Your brother brings a prince into this land

Of such a noble shape, so sweet a grace,

So full of worth withal, that every maid

That looks upon him gives away herself

To him for ever; and for you to have,

He brings him: and so mad is my demand,

That I desire you not to have this man,

This excellent man; for whom you needs must die,

If you should miss him. I do now expect

You should laugh at me.

Pan.                            Trust me, I could weep

Rather; for I have found in all thy words

A strange disjointed sorrow.

Spa.                                   'Tis by me

His own desire too, that you would not love him.

Pan.  His own desire! Why, credit me, Thalestris,

I am no common wooer: if he shall woo me,

His worth may be such, that I dare not swear

I will not love him: but if he will stay

To have me woo him, I will promise thee

He may keep all his graces to himself,

And fear no ravishing from me.

Spa.                                          'Tis yet

His own desire; but when he sees your face,

I fear it will not be. Therefore I charge you,

As you have pity, stop those tender ears

From his enchanting voice; close up those eyes

That you may neither catch a dart from him,

Nor he from you: I charge you, as you hope

To live in quiet; for when I am dead,

For certain I shall walk to visit him,

If he break promise with me: for as fast

As oaths, without a formal ceremony,

Can make me, I am to him.

Pan.                                  Then be fearless;

For if he were a thing 'twixt god and man,

I could gaze on him, − if I knew it sin

To love him, − without passion. Dry your eyes:

I swear you shall enjoy him still for me;

I will not hinder you. But I perceive

You are not what you seem: rise, rise, Thalestris,

If your right name be so.

Spa.  [Rising]              Indeed, it is not:

Spaconia is my name; but I desire

Not to be known to others.

Pan.                               Why, by me

You shall not; I will never do you wrong;

What good I can, I will: think not my birth

Or education such, that I should injure

A stranger-virgin. You are welcome hither.

In company you wish to be commanded;

But when we are alone, I shall be ready

To be your servant.

[Exeunt.]

ACT II, SCENE II.

Fields in the Neighborhood of the City.

A great Crowd.

Enter three Shop-Men and a Woman.

1st Shop-M.  Come, come, run, run, run.

2nd Shop-M.  We shall outgo her.

3rd Shop-M.  One were better be hanged than carry

women out fiddling to these shows.

Wom.  Is the king hard by?

1st Shop-M.  You heard, he with the bottles said he

thought we should come too late. What abundance of

people here is!

Wom.  But what had he in those bottles?

3rd Shop-M.  I know not.

2nd Shop-M.  Why, ink, goodman fool.

3rd Shop-M.  Ink, what to do?

1st Shop-M.  Why the king, look you, will many times

call for those bottles, and break his mind to his friends.

Wom.  Let's take our places quickly; we shall have no 

room else.

2nd Shop-M.  The man told us, he would walk o'foot

through the people.

3rd Shop-M.  Ay, marry, did he.

1st Shop-M.  Our shops are well looked to now.

2nd Shop-M.  'Slife, yonder's my master, I think.

1st Shop-M.  No, ‘tis not he.

Enter two Citizens' Wives, and Philip.

1st Cit.W.  Lord, how fine the fields be! What sweet

living 'tis in the country!

2nd Cit.W.  Ay, poor souls, God help 'em, they live as

contentedly as one of us.

1st Cit.W.  My husband's cousin would have had me

gone into the country last year. Wert thou ever there?

2nd Cit.W.  Ay, poor souls, I was amongst 'em once.

1st Cit.W.  And what kind of creatures are they, for

love of God?

2nd Cit.W.  Very good people, God help 'em.

1st Cit.W.  Wilt thou go with me down this summer,

when I am brought to bed?

2nd Cit.W.  Alas, tis no place for us!

1st Cit.W.  Why, prithee?

2nd Cit.W.  Why, you can have nothing there; there's

nobody cries brooms.

1st Cit.W.  No!

2nd Cit.W.  No, truly, nor milk.

1st Cit.W.  Nor milk! how do they?

2nd Cit.W.  They are fain to milk themselves i' the

country.

1st Cit.W.  Good lord! But the people there, I think, 

will be very dutiful to one of us.

2nd Cit.W.  Ay, God knows, will they; and yet they do

not greatly care for our husbands.

1st Cit.W.  Do they not? alas! i' good faith, I cannot

blame them, for we do not greatly care for them

ourselves. − Philip, I pray, choose us a place.

Phil.  There's the best, forsooth.

1st Cit.W.  By your leave, good people, a little.

1st Shop-M.  What's the matter?

Phil.  I pray you, my friend, do not thrust my mistress

so; she's with child.

2nd Shop-M.  Let her look to herself, then; has she not

had thrusting enough yet? If she stay shouldering here,

she may hap to go home with a cake in her belly.

3rd Shop-M.  How now, goodman squitter-breech! 

why do you lean so on me?

Phil.  Because I will.

3rd Shop-M.  Will you, Sir Sauce-box?

[Strikes him.]

1st Cit.W.  Look, if one ha' not struck Philip! – Come

hither, Philip; why did he strike thee?

Phil.  For leaning on him.

1st Cit.W.  Why didst thou lean on him?

Phil.  I did not think he would have struck me.

1st Cit.W.  As God save me, la, thou’rt as wild as a

buck; there's no quarrel, but thou art at one end or other

on't.

3rd Shop-M.  It's at the first end, then, for he'll ne'er

stay the last.

1st Cit.W.  Well, slip-string, I shall meet with you.

3rd Shop-M.  When you will.

1st Cit.W.  I'll give a crown to meet with you.

3rd Shop-M.  At a bawdy-house.

1st Cit.W.  Ay, you're full of your roguery; but if I do

meet you, it shall cost me a fall.

Flourish.

 Enter a Man running.

Man.  The king, the king, the king, the king! Now,

now, now, now!

Enter Arbaces, Tigranes, Mardonius, and Soldiers.

All.  God preserve your majesty!

Arb.  I thank you all. Now are my joys at full,

When I behold you safe, my loving subjects.

By you I grow; 'tis your united love

That lifts me to this height.

All the account that I can render you

For all the love you have bestowed on me,

All your expenses to maintain my war,

Is but a little word: you will imagine

'Tis slender payment; yet 'tis such a word

As is not to be bought without our bloods:

'Tis peace!

All.  God preserve your majesty!

Arb.  Now you may live securely in your towns,

Your children round about you; you may sit

Under your vines, and make the miseries

Of other kingdoms a discourse for you,

And lend them sorrows. For yourselves, you may

Safely forget there are such things as tears;

And may you all, whose good thoughts I have gained,

Hold me unworthy, when I think my life

A sacrifice too great to keep you thus

In such a calm estate!

All.  God bless your majesty!

Arb.  See, all good people, I have brought the man,

Whose very name you feared, a captive home:

Behold him; 'tis Tigranes! In your hearts

Sing songs of gladness and deliverance.

1st Cit.W.  Out upon him!

2nd Cit.W.  How he looks!

Wom.  Hang him, hang him!

Mar.  These are sweet people.

Tigr.                                  Sir, you do me wrong,

To render me a scornèd spectacle

To common people.

Arb.                        It was far from me

To mean it so. − If I have aught deserved,

My loving subjects, let me beg of you

Not to revile this prince, in whom there dwells

All worth, of which the nature of a man

Is capable; valour beyond compare;

The terror of his name has stretched itself

Wherever there is sun: and yet for you

I fought with him single, and won him too;

I made his valour stoop, and brought that name,

Soared to so unbelieved a height, to fall

Beneath mine: this inspired with all your loves,

I did perform; and will, for your content,

Be ever ready for a greater work.

All.  The Lord bless your majesty!

Tigr.  [Aside] So, he has made me

Amends now with a speech in commendation

Of himself; I would not be so vain-glorious.

Arb.  If there be anything in which I may

Do good to any creature here, speak out;

For I must leave you: and it troubles me,

That my occasions, for the good of you,

Are such as call me from you: else my joy

Would be to spend my days amongst you all.

You show your loves in these large multitudes

That come to meet me. I will pray for you:

Heaven prosper you, that you may know old years,

And live to see your children's children

Sit at your boards with plenty! When there is

A want of anything, let it be known

To me, and I will be a father to you:

God keep you all!

All.  God bless your majesty, God bless your majesty!

[Flourish. Exeunt Arbaces, Tigranes,

Mardonius, and Soldiers.]

1st Shop-M.  Come, shall we go? all's done.

Wom.  Ay, for God's sake: I have not made a fire yet.

2nd Shop-M.  Away, away! all's done.

3rd Shop-M.  Content. − Farewell, Philip.

1st Cit.W.  Away, you halter-sack, you!

2nd Shop-M.  Philip will not fight; he's afraid on's face.

Phil.  Ay, marry; am I afraid of my face?

3rd Shop-M.  Thou wouldst be Philip, if thou sawest it

in a glass: it looks so like a visor.

1st Cit.W.  You'll be hanged, sirrah.

[Exeunt the three Shop-Men and Woman.]

Come Philip, walk afore us homewards. − Did not his

majesty say he had brought us home peas for all our

money?

2nd Cit.W.  Yes marry, did he.

1st Cit.W.  They're the first I heard on this year, by my

troth. I longed for some of 'em. Did he not say, we

should have some?

2nd Cit.W.  Yes, and so we shall anon, I warrant you,

have every one a peck brought home to our houses.

[Exeunt.]

ACT III.

SCENE I.

A Room in the Palace.

Enter Arbaces And Gobrias.

Arb.  My sister take it ill!

Gob.                              Not very ill;

Something unkindly she does take it, sir,

To have her husband chosen to her hands.

Arb.  Why, Gobrias, let her: I must have her know,

My will, and not her own, must govern her.

What, will she marry with some slave at home?

Gob.  Oh, she is far from any stubbornness!

You much mistake her: and no doubt will like

Where you will have her: but, when you behold her,

You will be loth to part with such a jewel.

Arb.  To part with her! why, Gobrias, art thou mad?

She is my sister.

Gob.                Sir, I know she is:

But it were a pity to make poor our land,

With such a beauty to enrich another.

Arb.  Pish! Will she have him?

Gob.  [Aside]                        I do hope she will not. −

I think she will, sir.

Arb.  Were she my father and my mother too,

And all the names for which we think folks friends,

She should be forced to have him, when I know

'Tis fit. I will not hear her say she's loth.

Gob.  [Aside] Heaven, bring my purpose luckily to pass!

You know 'tis just. − She will not need constraint,

She loves you so.

Arb.                    How does she love me? Speak.

Gob.  She loves you more than people love their health,

That live by labour; more than I could love

A man that died for me, if he could live

Again.

Arb.   She is not like her mother, then.

Gob.  Oh, no! When you were in Armenia,

I durst not let her know when you were hurt;

For at the first, on every little scratch,

She kept her chamber, wept, and could not eat

Till you were well; and many times the news

Was so long coming, that, before we heard,

She was as near her death as you your health.

Arb.  Alas, poor soul! But yet she must be ruled:

I know not how I shall requite her well.

I long to see her: have you sent for her,

To tell her I am ready?

Gob.                          Sir, I have.

Enter a Gentleman and Tigranes.

Gent.  Sir, here is the Armenian king.

Arb.                                                  He's welcome.

Gent.  And the queen-mother and the princess wait

Without.

Arb.      Good Gobrias, bring 'em in.−

[Exit Gobrias.]

Tigranes, you will think you are arrived

In a strange land, where mothers cast to poison

Their only sons: think you, you shall be safe?

Tigr.  Too safe I am, sir.

Re-enter Gobrias, with Aranes, Panthea, Spaconia,

Bacurius, Mardonius, Bessus, and two Gentlemen.

Arane.  [Kneels] As low as this I bow to you; and would

As low as is my grave, to show a mind

Thankful for all your mercies.

Arb.                                     Oh, stand up,

And let me kneel! the light will be ashamed

To see observance done to me by you.

Arane.  You are my king.

Arb.                             You are my mother: rise.

[Raises her.]

As far be all your faults from your own soul

As from my memory! then you shall be

As white as Innocence herself.

Arane.                                         I came

Only to show my duty, and acknowledge

My sorrows for my sins: longer to stay,

Were but to draw eyes more attentively

Upon my shame. That power, that kept you safe

From me, preserve you still!

Arb.                                    Your own desires

Shall be your guide.

[Exit Arane.]

Pan.                   Now let me die!

Since I have seen my lord the king return

In safety, I have seen all good that life

Can show me: I have ne'er another wish

For Heaven to grant; nor were it fit I should;

For I am bound to spend my age to come

In giving thanks that this was granted me.

Gob.  Why does not your majesty speak?

Arb.                                                       To whom?

Gob.  To the princess.

Pan.  Alas, sir, I am fearful you do look

On me as if I were some loathèd thing,

That you were finding out a way to shun!

Gob.  Sir, you should speak to her.

Arb.  Ha!

Pan.  I know I am unworthy, yet not ill-

Armed with which innocence, here I will kneel

Till I am one with earth, but I will gain

Some words and kindness from you.

[Kneels.]

Gob.                                            Will you speak, sir?

Arb.  [Aside] Speak! am I what I was?

What art thou, that dost creep into my breast,

And dar'st not see my face? Show forth thyself.

I feel a pair of fiery wings displayed

Hither, from thence. You shall not tarry there;

Up, and begone; if you be'st Love, begone!

Or I will tear thee from my wounded flesh,

Pull thy loved down away, and with a quill,

By this right arm drawn from thy wanton wing,

Write to thy laughing mother in thy blood,

That you are powers belied, and all your darts

Are to be blown away by men resolved,

Like dust. I know thou fear'st my words: away!

Tigr.  [Aside] Oh, misery! why should he be so slow?

There can no falsehood come of loving her:

Though I have given my faith, she is a thing

Both to be loved and served beyond my faith.

I would he would present me to her quickly.

Pan.  Will you not speak at all? are you so far

From kind words? Yet, to save my modesty,

That must talk till you answer, do not stand

As you were dumb; say something, though it be

Poisoned with anger, that may strike me dead.

Mar.  Have you no life at all? For manhood sake,

Let her not kneel, and talk neglected thus.

A tree would find a tongue to answer her,

Did she but give it such a loved respect.

Arb.  You mean this lady: lift her from the earth;

Why do you let her kneel so long? – Alas,

[They raise Panthea.]

Madam, your beauty uses to command,

And not to beg! what is your suit to me?

It shall be granted; yet the time is short,

And my affairs are great. − But where's my sister?

I bade she should be brought.

Mar.  [Aside]                          What, is he mad?

Arb.  Gobrias, where is she?

Gob.                                 Sir!

Arb.                                      Where is she, man?

Gob.  Who, sir?

Arb.                  Who! hast thou forgot? my sister.

Gob.  Your sister, sir!

Arb.  Your sister, sir! Some one that hath a wit,

Answer, where is she?

Gob.                       Do you not see her there?

Arb. Where?

Gob.          There.

Arb.                  There! where?

Mar.                                 'Slight, there: are you blind?

Arb.  Which do you mean? that little one?

Gob.                                                     No, sir.

Arb.  No, sir! Why, do you mock me? I can see

No other here but that petitioning lady.

Gob.  That's she.

Arb.                  Away!

Gob.                         Sir, it is she.

Arb.                                          'Tis false.

Gob.  Is it?

Arb.         As hell! By Heaven, as false as hell!

My sister! − Is she dead? If it be so,

Speak boldly to me, for I am a man,

And dare not quarrel with divinity;

And do not think to cozen me with this.

I see you all are mute, and stand amazed,

Fearful to answer me: it is too true;

A decreed instant cuts off every life,

For which to mourn is to repine: she died

A virgin though, more innocent than sleep,

As clear as her own eyes; and blessedness

Eternal waits upon her where she is:

I know she could not make a wish to change

Her state for new; and you shall see me bear

My crosses like a man. We all must die;

And she has taught us how.

Gob.                                Do not mistake,

And vex yourself for nothing; for her death

Is a long life off yet, I hope. 'Tis she;

And if my speech deserve not faith, lay death

Upon me, and my latest words shall force

A credit from you.

Arb.                   Which, good Gobrias?

That lady dost thou mean?

Gob.                                That lady, sir:

She is your sister; and she is your sister

That loves you so; 'tis she for whom I weep,

To see you use her thus.

Arb.                              It cannot be.

Tigr.  [Aside] Pish! this is tedious:

I cannot hold; I must present myself:

And yet the sight of my Spaconia

Touches me as a sudden thunder-clap

Does one that is about to sin.

Arb.                                     Away!

No more of this. Here I pronounce him traitor,

The direct plotter of my death, that names

Or thinks her for my sister: 'tis a lie,

The most malicious of the world, invented

To mad your king. He that will say so next,

Let him draw out his sword, and sheathe it here;

It is a sin fully as pardonable.

She is no kin to me, nor shall she be:

If she were ever, I create her none:

And which of you can question this? My power

Is like the sea, that is to be obeyed,

And not disputed with: I have decreed her

As far from having part of blood with me

As the naked Indians. Come and answer me,

He that is boldest now: is that my sister?

Mar.  [Aside] Oh, this is fine!

Bes.  No, marry, she is not, an't please your majesty;

I never thought she was; she's nothing like you.

Arb.  No; 'tis true, she is not.

Mar.  [To Bessus]           Thou shouldst be hang'd.

Pan.  Sir, I will speak but once. By the same power

You make my blood a stranger unto yours,

You may command me dead; and so much love

A stranger may impórtune; pray you, do.

If this request appear too much to grant,

Adopt me of some other family

By your unquestioned word; else I shall live

Like sinful issues, that are left in streets

By their regardless mothers, and no name

Will be found for me.

Arb.                          I will hear no more. −

Why should there be such music in a voice,

And sin for me to hear it? All the world

May take delight in this; and 'tis damnation

For me to do so. − You are fair and wise,

And virtuous, I think; and he is blessed

That is so near you as your brother is:

But you are naught to me but a disease,

Continual torment without hope of ease.

Such an ungodly sickness I have got,

That he that undertakes my cure must first

O'erthrow divinity, all moral laws,

And leave mankind as unconfined as beasts,

Allowing them to do all actiöns

As freely as they drink when they desire.

Let me not hear you speak again; yet so

I shall but languish for the want of that,

The having which would kill me. − No man here

Offer to speak for her; for I consider

As much as you can say. I will not toil

My body and my mind too; rest thou there;

Here's one within will labour for you both.

Pan.  I would I were past speaking!

Gob.                                             Fear not, madam;

The king will alter: 'tis some sudden rage,

And you shall see it end some other way.

Pan.  Pray Heaven it do!

Tigr. [Aside]

Though she to whom I swore be here, I cannot

Stifle my passion longer; if my father

Should rise again, disquieted with this,

And charge me to forbear, yet it would out − 

Madam, a stranger and a prisoner begs

To be bid welcome.

Pan.                     You are welcome, sir,

I think; but if you be not, 'tis past me

To make you so; for I am here a stranger

Greater than you: we know from whence you come;

But I appear a lost thing, and by whom

Is yet uncertain; found here in the court,

And only suffered to walk up and down,

As one not worth the owning.

Spa.  [Aside]                         Oh, I fear

Tigranes will be caught! he looks, methinks,

As he would change his eyes with her. Some help

There is above for me, I hope!

Tigr.  Why do you turn away, and weep so fast,

And utter things that misbecome your looks?

Can you want owning?

Spa.  [Aside]               Oh, 'tis certain so.

Tigr.  Acknowledge yourself mine.

Arb.                                              How now?

Tigr.                                                          And then

See if you want an owner.

Arb.                                 They are talking!

Tigr.  Nations shall own you for their queen.

Arb.  Tigranes, art not thou my prisoner?

Tigr.  I am.

Arb.       And who is this?

Tigr.                               She is your sister.

Arb.  She is so.

Mar.  [Aside] Is she so again? that's well.

Arb.  And how, then, dare you offer to change words with her?

Tigr.  Dare do it! Why, you brought me hither, sir,

To that intent.

Arb.             Perhaps I told you so:

If I had sworn it, had you so much folly

To credit it? The least word that she speaks

Is worth a life. Rule your disordered tongue,

Or I will temper it.

Spa.  [Aside]       Blest be that breath!

Tigr.  Temper my tongue! Such incivilities

As these no barbarous people ever knew:

You break the laws of nature, and of nations;

You talk to me as if I were a prisoner

For theft. My tongue be tempered! I must speak,

If thunder check me, and I will.

Arb.                                          You will!

Spa.  [Aside] Alas, my fortune!

Tigr.                                      Do not fear his frown.

Dear madam, hear me.

Arb.  Fear not my frown? But that 'twere base in me

To fight with one I know I can o'ercome,

Again thou shouldst be conquerèd by me.

Mar.  [Aside] He has one ransom with him already;

methinks, 'twere good to fight double or quit.

Arb.  Away with him to prison! − Now, sir, see

If my frown be regardless. − Why delay you?

Seize him, Bacurius! − You shall know my word

Sweeps like a wind, and all it grapples with

Are as the chaff before it.

Tigr.                               Touch me not.

Arb.  Help there!

Tigr.                Away!

1st Gent.                  It is in vain to struggle.

2nd Gent.  You must be forced.

Bac.                                       Sir, you must pardon us;

We must obey.

Arb.              Why do you dally there?

Drag him away by any thing.

Bac.                                       Come, sir.

Tigr.  Justice, thou ought'st to give me strength enough

To shake all these off. − This is tyranny,

Arbaces, subtler than the burning bull's,

Or that famed tyrant's bed. Thou might'st as well

Search i' the deep of winter through the snow

For half-starved people, to bring home with thee

To show 'em fire and send 'em back again,

As use me thus.

Arb.                Let him be close, Bacurius.

[Exit Tigranes, led off by Bacurius

and two Gentlemen.]

Spa.  [Aside] I ne'er rejoiced at any ill to him

But this imprisonment: what shall become

Of me forsaken?

Gob.                You will not let your sister

Depart thus discontented from you, sir?

Arb.  By no means, Gobrias: I have done her wrong,

And made myself believe much of myself

That is not in me. − You did kneel to me,

Whilst I stood stubborn and regardless by,

And, like a god incensèd, gave no ear

To all your prayers.

[Kneels.]

                            Behold, I kneel to you:

Show a contempt as large as was my own,

And I will suffer it; yet, at the last,

Forgive me.

Pan.         Oh, you wrong me more in this

Than in your rage you did! you mock me now.

[Kneels.]

Arb.  Never forgive me, then; which is the worst

Can happen to me.

Pan.                    If you be in earnest,

Stand up, and give me but a gentle look

And two kind words, and I shall be in Heaven.

Arb.  Rise you, then, too. Here I acknowledge thee,

[Rising, and raising Panthea.]

My hope, the only jewèl of my life,

The best of sisters, dearer than my breath,

A happiness as high as I could think:

And when my actions call thee otherwise,

Perdition light upon me!

Pan.                             This is better

Than if you had not frowned; it comes to me

Like mercy at the block: and when I leave

To serve you with my life, your curse be with me!

Arb.  Then, thus I do salute thee; and again,

[Kisses her.]

To make this knot the stronger. − [Aside] Paradise

Is there! − It may be you are yet in doubt;

This third kiss blots it out. − [Aside] I wade in sin,

And foolishly entice myself along! −

Take her away; see her a prisoner

In her own chamber, closely, Gobrias.

Pan.  Alas, sir, why?

Arb.                      I must not stay the answer. –

Do it.

Gob.  Good sir!

Arb.              No more: do it, I say.

Mar.  [Aside] This is better and better.

Pan.  Yet, hear me speak.

Arb.                              I will not hear you speak. −

Away with her! Let no man think to speak

For such a creature; for she is a witch,

A poisoner, and a traitor!

Gob.  Madam, this office grieves me.

Pan.                                                  Nay, 'tis well;

The king is pleased with it.

Arb.  Bessus, go you along too with her. I will prove

All this that I have said, if I may live

So long: but I am desperately sick;

For she has given me poison in a kiss, −

She had it 'twixt her lips, − and with her eyes

She witches people. Go, without a word!

[Exeunt Gobrias, Panthea, Bessus,

 and Spaconia.]

Why should you, that have made me stand in war

Like Fate itself, cutting what threads I pleased,

Decree such an unworthy end of me

And all my glories? What am I, alas,

That you oppose me? If my secret thoughts

Have ever harboured swellings against you,

They could not hurt you; and it is in you

To give me sorrow, that will render me

Apt to receive your mercy: rather so,

Let it be rather so, than punish me

With such unmanly sins. Incest is in me

Dwelling already; and it must be holy,

That pulls it thence. − Where art, Mardonius?

Mar.  Here, sir.

Arb.              I prithee, bear me, if thou canst.

Am I not grown a strange weight?

Mar.                                          As you were.

Arb.  No heavier?

Mar.                No, sir.

Arb.                         Why, my legs

Refuse to bear my body! Oh, Mardonius,

Thou hast in field beheld me, when thou know'st

I could have gone, though I could never run!

Mar.  And so I shall again.

Arb.                                Oh, no, ‘tis past.

Mar.  Pray you, go rest yourself.

Arb.  Wilt thou hereafter, when they talk of me,

As thou shalt hear, nothing but infamy,

Remember some of those things?

Mar.                                          Yes, I will.

Arb.  I prithee, do; for thou shalt never see

Me so again.

Mar.          I warrant ye.

[Exeunt.]

ACT III, SCENE II.

A Room in the House of Bessus.

Enter Bessus.

Bes.  They talk of fame; I have gotten it in the wars,

and will afford any man a reasonable pennyworth.

Some will say, they could be content to have it, but

that it is to be achieved with danger: but my opinion is

otherwise: for if I might stand still in cannon-proof,

and have fame fall upon me, I would refuse it. My

reputation came principally by thinking to run away;

which nobody knows but Mardonius, and I think he

conceals it to anger me. Before I went to the wars, I

came to the town a young fellow, without means or

parts to deserve friends; and my empty guts persuaded

me to lie, and abuse people, for my meat; which I did,

and they beat me: then would I fast two days, till my

hunger cried out on me, "Rail still!" Then, methought,

I had a monstrous stomach to abuse 'em again; and

did it. In this state I continued, till they hung me up by

the heels, and beat me with hazel-sticks, as if they

would have baked me, and have cozened somebody

with me for venison. After this I railed, and eat quietly;

for the whole kingdom took notice of me for a baffled

whipped fellow, and what I said was remembered in

mirth, but never in anger; of which I was glad. − I would

it were at that pass again! After this, Heaven called an

aunt of mine, that left two hundred pounds in a

cousin's hand for me; who, taking me to be a gallant

young spirit, raised a company for me with the money,

and sent me into Armenia with 'em. Away I would

have run from them, but that I could get no company;

and alone I durst not run. I was never at battle but

once, and there I was running, but Mardonius cudgelled

me: yet I got loose at last, but was so afraid that

I saw no more than my shoulders do, but fled with

my whole company amongst my enemies, and

overthrew 'em: now the report of my valour is come

over before me, and they say I was a raw young

fellow, but now I am improved: − a plague on their

eloquence! 'twill cost me many a beating: and

Mardonius might help this too, if he would; for now

they think to get honour on me, and all the men I

have abused call me freshly to account, (worthily,

as they call it) by the way of challenge.

Enter a Gentleman.

Gent.  Good-morrow, Captain Bessus.

Bes.  Good-morrow, sir.

Gent.  I come to speak with you −